Elas Plus: ‘One of most flexible and capable token systems in market today’

Token issuers will have far more flexibility and control over their offerings with Elas Plus, announced last week. Elas Digital‘s new offering uses the power of the BSV blockchain to allow clients to create and manage millions of tokens—for use cases ranging anywhere from social media and customer rewards, to voting credentials and digital representations of valuable real-world assets.

Elas will work with its clients to tailor the system to their individual needs. Elas Plus won’t be available to the general public to create speculative or “scam tokens” that have proliferated on more open platforms on other blockchains. Instead, it’s a more private, customized platform that aims to avoid the technical and regulatory hassles token issuers have encountered in the past.

Interview: Brendan Lee, Elas CEO

CoinGeek spoke to Elas CEO Brendan Lee about what sort of projects would use Elas Plus, and how they go about developing a token-based solution. Given the ability to create millions of blockchain tokens that actually work and are affordable to manage, the company is keen to avoid problems like speculative mania and legal headaches both for itself and clients. Lee tells us about how they’re doing this, and how Elas Plus can make life simpler for those who just want to use tokens to streamline other services.

We also talked about Elas’ own recent experiences in Australia that demonstrate some of the more political hurdles BSV faces. Lobbyists supporting BTC have reportedly gained some influence in local industry groups, and may have been effective at shutting out BSV projects from grant applications. It’s a problem BSV companies have occasionally faced, out in the “real world”—curious potential users, new to blockchain and tokens, are impressed by BSV’s capabilities, but run up against disinformation campaigns in the media and on social networks from proponents of BTC and other digital asset networks.

How does Elas Plus work, what’s it for, and who will be using it? Additionally, can BSV developers overcome the hurdles others place in front of them and prove Bitcoin’s true usefulness simply by building better systems while ignoring the noise? Read on to find out.

What is Elas Plus?

Brendan Lee: Elas Plus is the framework that we have developed for the simple and flexible creation of tokens and data structures for use in apps and enterprise frameworks. We built it to serve our internal requirements but quickly realised that “this is the product” and we are best served to finding customers who want to solve today’s biggest problems using Bitcoin using tailored implementations rather than trying to shoehorn a generic token solution into a product.

Elas Plus can be used to manage micropayments, hold and distribute content, manage a public data entry framework and much more, so the goal of “releasing” Elas Plus is to let potential customers know that we are ready with a tested and highly capable framework to create bespoke applications that use Bitcoin as a back-end. Tokens of any type with undisputable provenance can be created on-demand at very low cost. We are working on a stack of marketing materials for the product which we will release over the coming months.

Who is Elas Plus for?

Brendan Lee: Elas Plus is targeted at government and enterprise organisations seeking to explore how to incorporate Bitcoin and the Bitcoin blockchain into their processes and data management strategies. Elas Plus really seeks to double down on using the ledger as a single source of truth, creating records that can be used as the third ledger entry in a triple ledger accounting system. Of course, what Bitcoin enables is for those ledgers to encompass a much more vast and detailed record of exchange, giving users on both sides of each transaction new and more capable ways of managing their information. The advantage of Elas Plus and the Elas token system is that it is designed to fit very well within established processes and organisations. The best way to exploit the advantages of Bitcoin can sometimes be to explore using it to solve a particular pain-point, in such a way that the solution can scale to be much more broadly applied.

We are especially keen to talk to governments about the needs of voting, census and more. With Bitcoin we will soon have the ability to ask 200,000,000 individual people a set of questions and receive 200,000,000 unique answers, for less than $100,000 in transaction fees (much less). These superpowers of Bitcoin are ready to be exploited and we have the tools, the knowledge and the know how to give the strategic first mover in this field a big advantage.

Will Elas Plus be available for anyone to use?

Brendan Lee: Elas Plus is not a public facing utility. It is only possible to use Elas Plus for token systems/products that have been through a functionality/user experience discovery process with Elas, which gives us the opportunity to evaluate whether you already have an understanding of your token product. Elas Plus is quite different to other platforms in that we foresee that well over 90% of use cases will require customisation of the token lifecycle to achieve the required user experience. For this reason the platform is closed to anyone who does not have a relationship with Elas where we can clearly understand and agree that they are working within a proper framework and understand and are meeting all of the necessities of regulation and compliance. Until this certainty is met, Elas Plus users are confined to Testnet…

Is this based on an existing token protocol or is it completely in-house developed?

Brendan Lee: Elas Plus is developed completely in-house and represents 12 months of work on a variety of fronts. We now have capabilities around token issuance that gives us the ability to exploit the benefits of Bitcoin Script fully, making use of all of the consensus-based features of a Bitcoin UTXO, such as timed expiry, payment channels, sidechains (when they become available) and more.

Who do you expect will be the first users?

Brendan Lee: We already have some customers – Amleh Gold’s platform was based on an earlier version of what we have now, which was heavily customised to tighten up their user interface. With Elas Plus, we have the capability to perform this work for the customer, as part of project scope, or simply to provide the customer with a robust set of APIs that they can use from their own front end to create, send, receive and validate tokens.

We also plan to use Elas Plus as a core building block of our project deliverables in Tuvalu, which includes what I would call “digital kiosks” where users will be able to be taken through a procedure driven activity (e.g. citizenship application) and have the whole process managed via an on-chain object with shared signature permissions making it very easy to manage stepping through the procedure.

We believe Elas Plus is one of the most flexible and capable token systems in the market today and we are looking for the next customers who want to make a statement with their digital process or platform.

Do you have definite users lined up? (existing projects or new ones)

Brendan Lee: At the moment, we only have Amleh’s system on-line, and a few demo systems that we have built. We have tested issuance of thousands of tokens on-demand, so it wouldn’t take long for a large-scale platform with millions or hundreds of millions of tokens to be pushed into operation—especially in a situation where it’s something like a social media monetization system, where the platform takes a cut. This is so easy to do with Elas Plus—we are just looking for the customer with the right vision.

The key in each situation is to make sure that you create a token that is not going to be subject to huge regulatory overhead—e.g., for a social media “awards” type token which was a monetization system, we would advise against creating this as some sort of cash like instrument, as this tends to draw the attention of law enforcement. We would instead create something where tokens are issued on demand to users who purchase them for cash, and then spent/redeemed in a transaction that effectively destroys the token and leaves a receipt on-chain, rather than trying to create a cash instrument which is then handed from person to person to person. This becomes much more simple to reconcile, much clearer for all users, much easier for the platform operator to monetize, and most of all, is very simple to implement while we are still attached to legacy payment rails.

What kind of interface will the token management system have?

Brendan Lee: Effectively this comes down to the user. Each issuer is free to create their own UX/UI for issuing the tokens they need, in the way they need them. For more complicated systems (e.g., Amleh) we have identified that users need the flexibility to issue highly specific tokens that represent a unique singular object. For this reason, the token creation system allows the user to insert highly granular information into the token definition interface. If you were simply creating thousands of the same thing, we would engineer a template and ask you to set a quantity. There really is no need for us to control the issuance interface, as we are not the issuer. Our goal is to make the issuer’s job/life as simple as possible by building outstanding tools.

How available will it be—i.e., is it available for anyone to use, or only for clients?

Brendan Lee: For now, and for the foreseeable future, Elas Plus is a tool that is available only to Elas Customers, and even then, only as an engineered solution. There isn’t an Elas Plus website where you can rock up and create a million Ponzi tokens which you can then go and sell, and it is precisely due to this risk that we have chosen to maintain this as a private, customised platform. It may be that at some-point there is an implementation of Elas Plus that allows individual users to come and make their own tokens, however at this stage we are keeping it locked down pretty tight. We have seen what “crypto-entrepreneurs” will do when there are no rules in place, and we are very focused on making sure that nobody can use Elas Plus to put themselves in a situation where there may be legal or regulatory questions around what they are doing and how they are doing it. We understand that some in the community will not like this approach however they should know that this is as much for their protection as it is for ours.

Do users “know” they’re using the BSV blockchain or is this not explicit when using it?

Brendan Lee: We would expect that our customer would know they were using BSV, but there is no reason that their customer would need to know. All they know is they purchased a good or service, and that it was delivered smoothly, quickly and cheaply. BSV can disappear into the background at that point, so that we can focus on the user and their experience.

Have there been any “token-friendly” regulatory or legal moves lately in Australia?

Brendan Lee: The Australian Senate recently released the third issues paper for the Australian Senate’s Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre. We noticed that a lot of the crypto exchanges are asking for legal clemency as the regulators come down, claiming that they did not know they were breaking the law by selling unregulated securities, which include many crypto Ponzi tokens, stablecoins such as USDT and USDC, the sale of BTC as Bitcoin and much more. Elas took the opposite line, asking the Senate to do as much as they can under existing regulations to put this to a stop.

The Australian public are being gamed here as much as they are anywhere else, and rather than peeling back regulations and making it easier for these scams to have a place, we asked for the regulators to step in and take a much harder line. Without this, more people will lose their hard-earned money to crypto scammers, and more people thinking they are building legitimate technology will end up creating, issuing and selling illegal securities, a crime for which ‘I didn’t know’ is not nearly a good enough excuse.

Do you have any more information about Elas’ rejected Blockchain Grant submission?

Brendan Lee: We followed up with the department when we discovered that our paper was rejected because “BitcoinSV is under legal proceedings and has a bad reputation.” All we were able to find out was that this was the review output from the Australian blockchain roadmap panelists who had reviewed our paper, and that for the blockchain aspect of our solution we were given a rating of 0/25, which was an insurmountable problem, despite getting very favourable ratings across the rest of the criteria.

We can only assume this is due to our choice of BSV, and nothing to do with the design of the Metanet/Elas token based mineral compliance tracking ledger and supply chain tokenization system we proposed—which we, the Queensland Department of Resources, and multiple third parties we consulted with on the proposal all thought was great (which they also indicated in their letters of support). We have tried to find more information about how the zero grade was calculated, but the government have stonewalled all further requests on the basis of privacy. We haven’t even been able to find out if there were any other submissions using BSV, or whether we were the only ones rejected on the basis of “legal proceedings and bad reputation.”

We are exploring our options, including requesting the results and comments via the freedom of information act however the decision is final and we know it won’t change the outcome. It is still very tough to know that at the highest echelons of public infrastructure that we are a target and that there is a uniform rejection of Bitcoin SV across the board and with zero accountability. I urge anyone in BSV faced with similar issues not to get angry, but just to get on with building the best damn systems you can.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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